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National Geographic - Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites
National Geographic - Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2007     0hr 52min

Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites takes us on a journey into one of the most sacred places on Earth dating back to biblical times. It is the most hotly contested piece of real estate on the planet and its name alone is ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Television, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Nat'l Geographic Vid
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/27/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 0hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

If you are looking for God, come to Jerusalem!!!
Deepak K. Singh | Delhi, India | 09/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's a saying: "If you need water, you build an aqueduct. If you are looking for God, you come to Jerusalem." Jerusalem means "City of Peace." But as a focal point of three major world religions, and home to some of those faiths' holiest sites, Jerusalem has witnessed 3,000 years of bloody conflict, intrigue and passion.

This compelling documentary from National Geographic, with exclusive access, intimately explores locales held sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims throughout the centuries. The documentary unveils some of the rare onsite footage of the Holy sites of all the three monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. From footage filmed inside the magnificent Dome of the Rock to the vast underground expanse of Solomon's Stables to the traditional sites of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, it's a spellbinding journey into this ancient, multilayered urban landscape of war, worship and timeless wonder. As a special feature, a useful and Interactive Timeline of Jerusalem along with narration is also provided.

The documentary takes you inside the beautiful Dome of the Rock adorned with Islamic art. It is an Islamic prayer house in what Muslims call Al-Aqsa Mosque, or the Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif in Arabic; Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount). Built in between 687 and 691 by the 9th Caliph, Abd al-Malik, it is the oldest extant Islamic building in the world and remains one of the best known landmarks of Jerusalem. The rock in the center of the dome is the spot from which the Muslims believe Muhammad ascended for a night-long journey to Heaven in AD 621, accompanied by the angel Gabriel. In Judaism, the stone is the site where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. The focus then shifts to the southern congregational mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound area commonly referred to as Al-Aqsa Mosque which can accommodate about 5,000 people worshipping inside it. The government of Israel has granted a Muslim Council, Waqf, full administration of the whole site of the Noble Sanctuary. Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, non-Muslims are barred from entering the site. Beneath the Noble Sanctuary is shown the mysterious natural cave known as Well of Souls which is rarely documented. According to Islamic tradition, it is the place reserved for the faithful spirits who will gather on the day of resurrection.

Another remarkable structure of the ancient times shown in the documentary is the Solomon's Stables. It is the common name of an area located directly underneath the south eastern corner of the Temple Mount, an area where the bedrock falls away steeply from the level of the Temple Mount platform. Consisting of rows of massive pillars and arches, the impressive structure was built by King Herod to support the gigantic platform for building the second Jewish temple. The area was later used by the crusaders as stables during the crusades.

The documentary then takes you to an insightful tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most famous Christian church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was first built by Constantine I the Great during the fourth century, after he became christian, and turned Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. The ground on which the church stands is venerated by most Christians as Golgotha, the Hill of Calvary, where the New Testament says that Jesus was crucified. It is said to also contain the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre). Immediately inside the entrance to the church is the Stone of Unction, which commemorates the preparation of Jesus' crucified body for burial. The church has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Catholic Archpriest of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

From the Judaism viewpoint, the documentary shows the Western Wall, a retaining wall in Jerusalem that dates from the time of the Jewish Second Temple. It is revered for its proximity to the sacred Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount, which is the Most Holy Place in Judaism. One of the highlights of the documentary is the footage of a small area below ground level, unknown to many, called "The Cave", in the Western Wall Tunnel, which is the closest to the site of the Holy of Holies - at one area only about 100 meters away from Holy of Holies. The documentary also unearths Jewish ritual baths discovered recently under the Western Wall which the Jews including Jesus would have used before entering the Jewish Temple during the first century.

This documentary effectively captures the essence and the enigma of the city that is Jerusalem, thereby helping to retrace the main events in the history of Jerusalem with onsite footage, reenactments and excellent narration throughout. It is highly recommended to those who wish to understand the troubled psyche, mystery, passion and legend of the city called Jerusalem.

For the three world faiths, Jerusalem's holiest sites have been a gateway of Heaven since the days of the Bible and shall be so until the day of resurrection. From their beginning, all three faiths shared the common stories, prophets and an undying devotion to the holy sites of Jerusalem. In the end, it is going to be the place where their destinies are also tied to. After watching this, one just wonders how such a tiny piece of land in the whole world could evoke so much passion among the followers of three great world faiths, that their very own lives and their fates are bound to it, whether directly or indirectly, until the end of times.
Excellent story and information.
Michael Cicchi | Albuquerque | 05/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD gives excellent information on the muslim hajj pilgramage. I just wish it could be two hours long instead of just one hour."
Holy experience
Sarah Fuller | Arizona, USA | 07/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Amazing way to learn how holiness there in this wonderful city.
The national geographic team has done it again with an amazing journey and exclusive access to some of the holiest place in there.
It will be great if they would brought some of the true secrets of this city like in The Burdensome Stone
Worth watching!"